In the last couple of years, the body positivity movement has blown up on social media.
Models like Ashley Graham (six million followers on Instagram) and Tess Holliday (favourite hashtag: #effyourbeautystandards) along with a legion of other plus-size models, bloggers and influencers, have been preaching a gospel of self-acceptance, proving that you don’t have to be sample size to be successful and self-confident.
Now, we’re seeing a new confidence-boosting movement growing online and this time, it’s all about skin.
By sharing unfiltered photos, Instagram users like artist and musician Hailey Wait – aka Pigss – who calls herself ‘pro pizza face’ in her bio, are wanting to show that acne is totally normal, whatever your age.
“Since being more open about my skin imperfections, SO MANY of you have opened up to me about your own struggles and I want to say that I’m truly moved, and incredibly thankful to be supported by so many genuine human beings,” the 18-year-old wrote in a recent post. “I’ve heard your stories and seen more and more of you embrace yourselves for who you are, and to me, that’s the most beautiful thing in the whole world.”
Clearly, there’s an appetite for more honesty about skin issues on social media. Earlier this month, a photo which showed acne covered in stickers spelling out ‘I’m so f***ing sick and tired of the Photoshop’ went viral after it was shared by the popular PopMyEyes account with the hashtag #acneisnormal.
The original image came from photographer PJ DeVito, who created a series of photos of people with acne because he thought they were missing, even in the current climate of self-acceptance.
Elsewhere on Instagram, accounts dedicated to user’s treatment journeys are giving hope to others who suffer with severe acne.
The RoaccutaneDiaries page has amassed 22,000 subscribers who follow 22-year-old Natasha as she tracks her progress after taking the commonly prescribed but controversial drug isotretinoin.
The medication can be incredibly effective at treating acne, but can also cause severe side effects, so much so it’s been banned in the US.
Natasha, who is based here in the UK, wrote that “roaccutane was the best decision I ever did make!” but has been honest about the the dry skin and hair loss she experienced during the six months she was taking the pills.
Ella Gorton, aged 24, also documented her time on the drug on her _Myskinstory page and now shares other users’ #acneprogress posts in solidarity.
Perhaps the most famous proponent of the self-acceptance beauty movement is British beauty vlogger Em Ford, who shot to prominence for her ‘You Look Disgusting’ YouTube video featuring all the comments, positive and negative, that she gets about her skin.
On her MyPaleSkin blog, Ford creates make-up tutorials showing (among other things) how to conceal acne, but she frequently posts make-up free selfies too, and talks about all the intrusive messages she gets from people online, who think they know how to ‘cure’ her spots.
The 26-year-old has started using the hashtag #skinpositivity on Instagram and gets hundreds of supportive comments every day from her million-strong squad of fans.
There will still be detractors, of course (this is the internet after all) but one thing’s for sure; whether or not you have acne – and whether or not you choose to treat it or cover it up – the skin positivity movement is only just beginning, but it’s already a massive step in the right direction.